Community Technology Centers

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What are Community Technology Centers (CTCs)?
Question 2: The Community Technology Centers Program targets projects that are in communities that are defined as economically distressed. How is that determination made?
Question 3: What is the absolute priority for the FY 2002 Competition?
Question 4: How can I learn more about the National Reporting System?
Question 5: What does a 50% match mean?
Question 6: What indirect cost rate may I use?

What are Community Technology Centers (CTCs)?

Community Technology Centers provide computer access and educational services using information technology. In general, people who visit CTCs do not own computers, and many do not have access to computers at work or school. CTCs make computers, the Internet, and various software packages available.

The Department envisions funding CTCs that are diverse in the populations they serve and programs they offer, but similar in that they provide technology access to individuals, communities, and populations that typically wouldn't otherwise have places to use computer and telecommunications technologies.

Community Technology Centers have their origins in Harlem, New York where Playing to Win's (PTW) Community Computing Center opened in 1983. In 1992, Playing to Win was awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to help create a network of neighborhood technology access providers. Through technical assistance efforts, PTW helped spur the development of 50 centers, representing a broad range of community organizations. In November 1995, the Education Development Center (EDC) began a NSF funded effort aimed at the national expansion and institutionalization of the Playing to Win (PTW) Network. Currently, CTCNet is serving 650 CTCs through technical assistance and other services, including research and evaluation.


The Community Technology Centers Program targets projects that are in communities that are defined as economically distressed. How is that determination made?

The term economically distressed is based on Census data. For specific information, you would need to consult the Census website to determine whether the community in question would fit into this category. Economically distressed communities are those, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, in which a significant percentage (at least half) of the residents have an annual income that is at or below the poverty level. If you are unsure whether your community meets this definition, you should contact the U.S. Census Bureau or your local chamber of commerce.

Other data you could use might be any data obtained from your state, county, or local government regarding welfare recipients, unemployment rates, graduation rates from the school districts including any data on levels of student achievement such as mean test scores on any standardized tests that your state may provide. You might also look at labor market indicators and the types of entry-level jobs that are in demand in your area. This type of data and/or statistics should be available from your local government. Include such information in your application.


What is the absolute priority for the FY 2002 Competition?

In addressing the absolute priority, this competition establishes for projects that provide adult education and family literacy activities, applicants may provide either or both adult education and family literacy, depending upon their own priorities and resources and the needs of the communities they serve.

We also wish to emphasize that adult basic and adult secondary education instruction, and not only instruction designed to prepare individuals for the GED examination, are allowable uses of funds.

The phrase ADULT EDUCATION AND FAMILY LITERACY is a broad category and encompasses many things. This program defines adult education as services or instruction at or below the secondary level for individuals who are functioning at low levels of literacy. It could address adult basic education or adult secondary education. Adult education programs serve individuals who are 16 years of age or older who do not have a secondary credential and no longer eligible for attendance in a traditional secondary school, or who also lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable them to function effectively in society.

Adult basic education serves individuals at the lowest literacy levels. Within adult literacy, there are four basic functioning levels:

  • Beginning Literacy (grade levels 0 through 1.9),
  • Beginning Adult Basic Education (grade levels 2-3.9),
  • Low Intermediate Adult Basic Education (grade levels 4-5.0), and
  • High Intermediate Adult Basic Education (grade levels 6-8.9).

Family literacy recognizes that parents are supported as the first teachers of their children. Such programs work with individuals as well as with the family unit. Family literacy programs provide developmental experiences for young children while their parents are offered instruction in parenting skills and parental support to change patterns of family interaction. Some programs build the literacy skills of parents and extend learning opportunities to include pre-employment and employment skills. A successful project need not serve all of the above but some aspect of it. If a project is providing family literacy services, it should also include some aspect of adult basic, adult secondary, or pre-GED and/or English language proficiency classes.


How can I learn more about the National Reporting System?

The National Reporting System (NRS) established a national accountability system for adult education programs by identifying measures for national reporting and their definitions, establishing methods for data collection, developing software standards for reporting to the U.S. Department of Education and developing training materials and activities on NRS requirements and procedures. The NRS meets the accountability requirements for the adult education program in Title II of the Workforce Investment Act. The National Reporting System will improve the public accountability of the adult education program by documenting its ability to meet Federal policy and programmatic goals. For more information and to download NRS Implementation Guidelines, please visit the NRS website.


What does a 50% match mean?

You should first figure out how much it will cost you to run the program (for example if it cost $100,000 to run your program then your application should reflect a $50,000 federal fund request and at least a $50,000 match requirement/cost-share). Once you determine your total budget you divide your budget by two and that provide you with both your federal funds that you are requesting and match amount required, which should be equal.

Your matching commitments must be 1) verifiable; 2) reasonable and customary; 3) allowable under ED's cost principles as stipulated in EDGAR, and 4) be calculated using the fair market value of the product or service.


What indirect cost rate may I use?

The success of the Community Technology Centers program will depend upon how well grantees improve the literacy and other skills of those they serve. If the program is to achieve its purposes, we need to ensure that the $15 million available for new grants is used as effectively as possible. To do so, it is necessary to place a reasonable limitation on the amount of program funds that grant recipients may use to reimburse themselves for the "indirect costs" of program activities. Therefore, the Secretary has decided to establish a reasonable limit of eight percent (8%) on the indirect cost rate that all program recipients may charge to funds provided under this program. Indicate the rate and amount of indirect costs for each budget year. Indirect cost reimbursement is limited to your actual indirect costs, as determined by your negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, or eight percent (8%) of your modified direct cost base, whichever is less. If you do not have a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement, you may contact the Department's Indirect Cost Group (202) 708-6820 for further guidance on how to establish one.

If you have any other questions, please contact the Community Technology Centers Team.


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Last Modified: 01/06/2005